Sheriff: 7 men force way into Holly Hill home, kidnap baby

HOLLY HILL, S.C. (WCIV) -- Seven men forced their way inside a Holly Hill home, attacked a woman and took her grandson on Tuesday, sheriff's office officials said in an update.{}

According to{}Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, the seven men entered the Catamount Road home and forced three adults and six children to the ground at gunpoint. A 52-year-old woman was hit in the head while protecting a 4-month-old girl, Ravenell said.{}

That girl was abducted and later dropped off at an intersection in rural Berkeley County.{}

"This is an ongoing investigation and evidence at this time indicates that this was not a random act of violence. We will locate the cowards who entered the residence and snatched an innocent child from their family and later discarded the helpless child on the side of a road," Ravenell said.

A man called 911 after finding the baby girl on the side of the road in Berkeley County Tuesday afternoon, officials said.{}

"There's a baby lying down on the side of the road and we don't know who it belongs to," the man said to 911 dispatchers.

The man said he had just come from a funeral at Ebenezer Zion AME church on State Road in Moncks Corner when he got a strange call from a friend.{}

"He thought it was a stuffed animal, a teddy bear. But when he got over there, it was something different. It was a little baby lying on the ground," he said. "I almost cried, to tell you the truth. Because why did they put the pretty little baby outside like that, you know."

The man said he would have taken in the baby and raised her if she needed a home.{}

"That's a little angel, yes it is. You don't know what that baby is going to turn out to be," he said.

The 4-month-old girl was unharmed and has been returned to her family, officials said.{}EMS officials checked out the little girl and said she was in good health, Berkeley County Sheriff's Office public information officer Dan Moon said.

According to Berkeley County officials, the case originated in Orangeburg County after an armed robbery and kidnapping.

Assistant Chief Joshua Detter of the Holly Hill Police Department was the first officer to respond to the call, he said. It was initially reported as a home invasion on Catamount Road in Orangeburg County.

Detter arrived at the home to find the father of the baby "distraught" and crying, he said. The father of the baby also told police he'd been assaulted by the kidnappers.

"He said the car had left. It was a green Explorer and a red Impala here. He said they'd just left, had his 4-month-old baby and was saying they were going to call back later about ransom," Detter said.

Detter said he tried to chase the cars down but could not catch them. He said the father said four men kidnapped the baby.

The father told police nothing else was taken from the home, Detter said.

Detter also said the Catamount Road area was a "rougher" neighborhood, though he was not familiar with the home. He said police were looking in to the possibility of the incident being related to drugs.

Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office has jurisdiction in the case, but Berkeley County is helping them find the suspects and the vehicles since the people involved appear to have gone in to Berkeley County, Moon said.{}

Moon said officials were searching for two cars: a red Chevy Impala and a green Ford Explorer. Deputies searched the area near Black Tom Road, he added.

Officials in Orangeburg County said an Amber Alert was not issued because the baby was found as they were making the call to trigger it.

"We are continuing to interview witnesses, collect evidence, and will be working with all available resources to bring these individuals back to Orangeburg County to stand for the charges they have committed against this family," Ravenell said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off